Emanuel: Debt Ceiling Risks Not Worth Thinking About

Thursday, 30 Jun 2011 03:44 PM

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s first chief of staff, said the possibility Congress will fail to raise the U.S. borrowing limit by Aug. 2 isn’t worth contemplating because it would have such dire consequences.

“You can’t think like that because that’s not a realistic option for the American economy and people that need to go to work,” Emanuel, 51, told Bloomberg Television’s Al Hunt in an interview in Chicago today.

“These are choices,” Emanuel said. “You can come and solve the problem. And I know the president is providing the kind of leadership to do that. I don’t even think we should think about it. That should just be off the table.”

Obama and congressional Republican leaders remain at odds on how to reduce the deficit and clear the way for an agreement to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, now at $14.3 trillion. The Treasury Department has said it has until Aug. 2 before its ability to pay U.S. debt obligations runs out.

At a White House news conference yesterday, Obama urged the Republicans to set aside their rejection of tax increases as part of a deficit-reduction plan. Democrats are willing to accept some “painful cuts” to favored programs, and Republicans must concede that some taxes may have to be raised, he said.

--Editors: Jim Rubin, Flynn McRoberts

To contact the reporter on this story: John McCormick in Chicago at jmccormick16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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